* * *
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues,
In recent years, we have been paying a great deal of attention to improving criminal legislation and, in my opinion, have made some significant strides towards this end, even fundamental strides.
It cannot be called a revolution, but these have been serious steps to improve criminal law policy. I hope the steps were in the right direction because we have repeatedly noted that our criminal legislation, the application of laws and criminal procedure must be effective and must comprise two elements: punishment on the one hand, while on the other hand people must have a chance to change. That is the objective behind the decisions I have taken.
We changed a number of approaches to sentencing for certain categories of crimes, we worked on improving legislation on economic crimes and tried to make the punishments for economic wrongdoings match the seriousness of the offence, but at the same time without putting excessive pressure on the offenders, especially given that, as a rule, these crimes are committed for the first time and do not constitute a serious danger to society.
”Our criminal policy should be up to date and correspond to the understanding of which offences must be severely punished and where the punishment need not be so harsh.“
Finally, a new package of amendments to criminal legislation has been drafted, and these amendments are quite significant. There has been broad discussion of the proposed amendments with the participation of our colleagues who head the judiciary system, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Investigative Committee, law enforcement agencies and special services. So I hope that today we will conduct a final exchange of opinions on our approaches to certain types of crimes qualified under the Criminal Code, the approaches to sentencing and the improvement of criminal policy.
Our criminal policy should be up to date and correspond to the understanding of which offences must be severely punished and where the punishment need not be so harsh. This work is long overdue, so let's share our opinions on the draft law.